Asus Vivo Tab Smart (approx. £399, Full Win 8 Tablet PC)|
This one may slip completely under the radar, but I feel itís worthy of a few words. Why? Simple, itís the first reasonable implantation of full Windows 8 in a tablet that does not either cost a fortune or just suck.
I bought this for my wife who had a Mac Book from years ago that had ground to a halt. She needed something cheap and light as possible that she could still work on. As a teacher this means native Office 2010, as this is the software installed on the school PCís where she works, I should know, Iím the network manager. Nothing Ďcompatibleí works due to the ridiculously complex PowerPoint and spread sheets they create. I have tried iPads and Chromebooks and itís just a nightmare. She also has a very nasty nerve injury in her neck which now means carry anything remotely heavy is out too.
Was going to try Win8 RT, but as this turned up at the same price as Surface, it was not worth bothering with the limitations RT imposes.
So whatís it like? First off, the build. Plastic fantastic, by which I mean itís actually quite good. Personally I do not subscribe to the metal is better as I have seen just as many bent iPads as cheap plastic pads. It feels solid in the hand and the screen/case union looks to be well implemented. Itís very light which was very important in our case. The back has a slight rubber texture to it which I really like as this negates Ďtab slipí.
The screen is just average, no crazy resolution, but good enough. Text is sharp and pictures are well saturated. There is a micro USB port for charging, I have got an Ďon the goí USB lead so she can plug in memory sticks, and this works well. There is a Micro SD card slot, micro HDMI and a combination microphone/headphone jack.
The rest of the hardware is fairly unremarkable, a dual core Atom CPU, Power VR GPU, 2GB ram and 32GB SSD, the cameras are actually very good, there is a 1.3m pixel front facing and an 8m pixel rear facing with flash which can actually take a decent picture and video.
It boots from cold in 15 to 20 seconds, think this is down more to Windows 8 tidying up the boot process than the hardware, but itís good for the price point. Resume from sleep is as instant as an iPad. Battery life is about 8 to 9 hours, which given the full OS, is ok.
Think there has been enough said about the vagaries of Windows 8, but it does work, itís stable, but if you want to work on it, then you just have to get a mouse and keyboard (this is the case for any tablet really). I got the new Microsoft Wedge Mouse and keyboard, which while not cheap, are really, really good.
I have to say that this was somewhat of a reluctant purchase, we could have got another Mac, but the cheapest Air is twice the price, weighs more, and has half the battery life, also there are still compatibility problems between Office on the Mac and Win 2010 versions. Same problem with the iPad. So, can I recommended this? Yes, if it meets your needs. There is nothing wrong with the hardware, it lags a little, but itís an Atom chip running a fat OS, so thatís inevitable and no deal breaker, my iPad 4 does the same when I give it any heavy lifting too.
What has struck me is that when you do have a Ďproperí OS, it is a bit of a revelation in terms on not having to mess about with endless apps and workarounds. There is not much I cannot do on my iPad, but it can be a bleeding faff to get stuff done. Having a native file system and desktop programmes available as well as the touch optimised Ďmodern UI (urgh)í applications on a tablet is a great combination.
Edited by Sandbox at 11:39:16 05-03-2013
Asus Vivo Tab Smart
Interesting. Looks like the new netbook-class.
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Gambit1977 10,384 posts
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Sounds good. Does the open OS leave these tablets more susceptible to messing up, and viruses/hacking though?
It's just a PC, innit.
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I have a Transformer Prime but there are times when i want full windows. For example the twitch app can be an arse and while i have flash support on android it isn't perfect.
How would you say performance compares to tegra 3 android tablet ?
Performance is generally just about OK, Flash or generally heavy sites can bog down a little, once the site has finished loading, then things speed up again. 720P video plays fine. The new version of IE actually runs the quickest, Chrome can be slow.
My wife usually has 3 - 5 Office apps running and a few browser windows and iplayer (radio) running which it copes with just fine.
Never used Twitch, but I will grab the tablet off the misses in a min and see how well the website runs.
GPU is terrible, so don't expect Tegra 3 gaming at all, think netbook.
speedofthepuma 13,329 posts
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Have you got a brother called dirt?
I lurk. If I've spoken to you, I'm either impassioned, or drunk.